Zeller A Mauler In the Trenches

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- To many of his line-mates, Andrew Zeller is seen as a mauler, a fighter, maybe even an "animal" in the trenches with his aggressive style and "streak."

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- To many of his line-mates, Andrew Zeller is seen as a mauler, a fighter, maybe even an "animal" in the trenches with his aggressive style and "streak."

Said Terps senior nose tackle Darius Kilgo this week at camp:

"As a player, yeah, he has an animal streak in him on the field," Kilgo said of the Terps starting right offensive guard. "But off the field he is the nicest guy, he's like a gentle giant. But on the field? He's an animal type, our main guy like that."

Zeller has matured up on and off the field, with his strength and technique on the upswing to match his mauler/brawler style. Zeller is the Terps most aggressive offensive lineman as Kilgo indicated, and he will need both sides of his personality for what he hopes will be his next career after football. This summer he interned for the U.S. Marshals as part of his Criminal Justice major. One of the reasons he chose Maryland was for its highly regarded Criminal Justice program.

"One of the most interesting things I did is we had a couple guys from Homeland Security come in, and I got the opportunity to sit down with them while they interviewed two different individuals who were in the country illegally," Zeller said of a visit to the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt this summer.

Zeller worked both the criminal and civil desks, learned how prisoners are transported by Marshalls, and got to sit in court and witness trials.

Zeller hopes to one day become involved with federal law enforcement, and loves the television shows portraying the hunt.

"I watch America's Most Wanted and I Almost Got Away With It," those shows all the time," Zeller said.

But for now, he is consumed with helping the Terps offensive line take the next step this fall. He's at 305 pounds now, and this off-season his squat (560), power clean (375) and bench (360) all improved. But the biggest item has been his technique work, to match those physical skills.

"A lot of it for me is footwork and just playing low," Zeller said. "So what I have to do is really hone in during individual work with Coach [Greg Studrawa], and just work on my footwork, stay low, and take the right steps. And that will get me where I need to be."

Said Randy Edsall on Aug. 15 of his emerging talent:

"He has the ability that it takes to be a very good football player," Edsall said of Zeller. "But again the biggest thing with Andy is bending his knees, keeping his knees bent, and playing without being over-extended. That's his biggest issue, the times he gets over-extended, then it is hard for him to do the things he needs to do. That's the big thing we've been working about, just keep your hips underneath you, bring your feet with you, and when he does that he's pretty good."

Zeller said the linemen are communicating well in camp, while the freshmen, like Derwin Gray and Damien Prince, are coming along mentally much faster than expected. Zeller said the presence of Coach Greg Studrawa, the first-year line coach, has been big in sparking the group.

"I think we are more confident in ourselves. We get up to the line of scrimmage, we make a call, and we just run our play," Zeller said of playing faster under Coach Stud. "And Damien has been doing really well, he is very attentive and does exactly what he's told. He has caught on very fast. And Derwin, he's just got the natural ability to go out there and play. And [center] Brendan Moore, he's very intelligent and it didn't take him very long to pick up the plays at all."

Zeller also has some familiarity with the Terps new league, having been offered by Rutgers in the process and he was recruited by Michigan State.

"Oh, this is going to be a lot of fun, going to the Big Ten this year," Zeller said. "I know a little bit about them from some of the recruiting process."

Zeller is yet another Terps offensive lineman the staff hopes has taken the next step on the learning curve, and it translates this fall to the field for one of Maryland's historically most problematic units, which is still thin and unproven in spots.

"From the first day he stepped on the field he's made a lot of strides," Kilgo added. "He's bigger, faster, stronger, he has knowledge of the game. I have really seen improvement from him and I enjoy going up against him because I have good competition."

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